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Alberta concerned about freeze on temporary foreign workers in restaurants

EDMONTON - Alberta says it's concerned about the federal government's freeze on the use of temporary foreign workers in restaurants and fast-food outlets.

Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk (loo-KAH'-zuhk) says it's not fair to ban workers in an entire sector simply because there are — quote — "problems with a few players."

He wants Ottawa to clarify the timeline for its review of the program.

Lukaszuk points out Alberta's economy is strong and he calls its labour market unique.

He says unemployment is below five per cent and employers cannot find people to fill jobs.

He says some of those positions in food services remain open despite the use of temporary foreign workers.

"It's the reality of Alberta's labour market: when jobs remain unfilled, workers are recruited from other sectors, customer service declines, or Canadians already on staff lose shifts or jobs when restaurants close or reduce their hours," Lukaszuk said in a statement Friday.

"Albertans want restaurant services and companies need temporary foreign workers to provide them."

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